How to Identify Signs of Heat Pump Refrigerant Leaks

Refrigerant is considered to be the lifeblood of air conditioners and heat pumps. Unlike fuel, refrigerant isn’t consumed as it cycles through various stages of compression to generate warm or cool air. This is why you need to call for repairs in the event the refrigerant lines start leaking.

In today’s post, local AC repair company Kemnitz shares a quick guide on how to identify refrigerant leaks as well as what to do about them.

Signs of Leaking Refrigerant

Most stages of the refrigeration cycle occur at the outdoor unit, so it should be your first stop when inspecting your heat pump. If you see the following signs, your heat pump may already be leaking refrigerant:

Leaking fluid. Refrigerant is in its liquid state at room temperature. It also leaves a grease-like film on most surfaces, a tell-tale sign of a refrigerant leak.

Reduced output. The less refrigerant your heat pump has, the less conditioned air it generates. If you’re turning on your heat pump for the first time this fall, it may take noticeably longer to heat your living space.

Faint hissing or bubbling sounds. Due to differences in pressurization, leaking refrigerant makes a faint hissing or bubbling sound. It might not be noticeable when drowned out by other daytime noises, but you’ll probably be able to hear it in the quiet hours of the night.

What Should You Do?

One of the reasons why you should run your heat pump in the fall is that your home won’t be too uncomfortable if the pump has to undergo repairs. If you see one or more of the above signs, turn off the heat pump and schedule an appointment with an HVAC technician, who’s trained to recharge central ACs as well as repair or replace heat pump components affected by leaks.

Some homeowners choose to keep their heat pump running while waiting for their HVAC technician. While the heat pump will still work, it won’t be as efficient when the refrigerant is slowly draining. Eventually, it will reach the point where it will run at full capacity—consuming large amounts of electricity in the process—but with little to no heat coming out. For this reason, it’s better to temporarily turn off your heat pump and wait until an HVAC technician has performed repairs.

Call Kemnitz for Your Heating Needs

Kemnitz is your local air conditioning specialist serving customers in Orange County and surrounding communities. Give us a call at (949) 453-8500. You can also fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.

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